Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai)

Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?



OPINION  |  USE AND ABUSE OF PONÁR  |  VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS

VILNIUS—“There is nothing new under the sun,” as the Good Book says (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Sure, on occasion, Irish communities will feud in Boston, Italians in New York, Chinese in LA and Lithuanians in Chicago. It is part of the professional training, posture, and policy of diplomats to negotiate such inevitabilities by way of common sense, wisdom, and fairness. For years now, the widely admired German ambassador to Lithuania, HE Jutta Schmitz has kept her embassy’s diplomatic table open to people and organizations, governmental and non-governmental, from across the colorfully diverse spectrum of opinion in Lithuania. It is not known whether the recent completion of her Vilnius ambassadorship and departure from Lithuania,  and the temporary vacancy,  had anything to do with the embassy’s recent, and quite innocent, faux-pas.

Continue reading

Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Honest Error at German Embassy in Vilnius?

September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region



DEFENDING HISTORY WAS THERE

Annual Sept. 23 Official Commemoration Ceremony at the Ponár (Paneriai) Mass Murder Site Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

Historic Breakthrough as Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky Finally Calls for Removal of Street Names and Memorials for Holocaust Collaborators, Boldly Citing Juozas KrikštaponisJonas Noreika, and Kazys Škirpa; Sharp Contrast with Last Year’s Failed Event

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on September 23rd Events in the Vilnius Region

12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2



CEMETERIES AND MASS GRAVES  |  COMMEMORATIONS  |  LITHUANIA

by Julius Norwilla

There are at least twelve Holocaust mass murder sites in the immediate Vilnius region that are marked by some kind of memorial. They are noted in the online Holocaust Atlas of Lithuania, founded by Milda Jakulytė. In Lithuania, there are over 227 such sites that are described in the atlas, which is historically a continuation of the painstaking 1990s work of the late Joseph Levinson, published in his The Book of Sorrow (Vilnius 1997) that documented close to 200 such sites.

The best known is the Paneriai Memorial as the largest mass grave in the country, known as Ponár in Yiddish and Ponary in Polish. It is the site where 100,000 people were humiliated and murdered, around 70,000 of them Jews. This is where official commemorations take place, particularly each year on September 23rd, the day (controversially) designated by the Lithuanian government as the Holocaust Remembrance Day, rather than the international day, on January 27th, or days specific to the Lithuania-wide Holocaust such as June 23rd when violence against and humiliation of Jewish neighbors broke out across Lithuania.

Other mass murder sites in the Vilnius region are visited much less frequently and very often — not at all. But visiting these places is important for the respect for those murdered there and for a deeper understanding of the Holocaust which has so distorted our nation’s qualities.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Julius Norwilla, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on 12 Holocaust Massacre Sites in Vilnius Region; Taking a Closer Look at 2

First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?



PIRAMÓNT  |  PAPER  TRAIL  |  OPPOSITION  |  CEMETERIES

VILNIUS—When Lithuania’s official chief rabbi of eleven years’ standing, Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, was dismissed last summer after disagreeing with the government’s plan to erect a national convention center in the heart of Vilna’s old Jewish cemetery, the event caught the attention of both local and international media. It was quietly hoped, both in Vilnius and abroad, that the eventual replacement would be loyal to sacred Jewish causes (see Rabbi Burshtein’s final statement of his tenure in Vilnius), someone who would not dare, for the considerations of a job, betray the letter and spirit of Jewish law, or the living and the deceased actual Jews of Vilna over the centuries. See Prof. Shnayer Leiman’s essay on the subject, our editor’s summary, a satiric Motke Chabad take, and Dr. Bernard Fryshman’s reminder that “Even now, the cemetery contains the bodies of the Chayey Odom and the Be’eyr ha-Goylo among many others.” A second essay by Professor Leiman paves the way for inspiring reconstruction of many of the major historic structures of Lithuania’s foremost Jewish cemetery.

Vuvolak

by Vulovak (Vilnius) for DefendingHistory.com

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, CPJCE (London), Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on First Test of Torah Integrity for New Vilnius Rabbi Samson Daniel Izakson?

We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”



BOOKS  |  OPINION  |  LITHUANIA  |  HISTORY

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

Ponary Diary, 1941 — 1943. A Bystander’s Account of a Mass Murder. by Kazimierz Sakowicz. Edited by Yitzhak Arad. Foreword by Rachel Margolis. Yale University Press: New Haven and London 2005.

It goes without saying that a book of eyewitness Holocaust testimony penned at Lithuania’s largest mass grave site in the years 1941 to 1943, and first published in English in 2005, does not lose its importance for those who have not read it even a decade later; even if many other, much less important books, sport a more recent date of publication. Moreover, given the Lithuanian government’s campaign against the scholar who rediscovered and first published the manuscript in the 1990s, and against the scholar who edited the English edition cited above (both as part of its campaign against Jewish partisan survivors), the poignancy and human interest are even greater. It is indeed  a most appropriate time to pay tribute to that rediscoverer, Dr. Rachel Margolis (1921—2015), who passed away in Rehovot, Israel last summer, without realizing, in her nineties, her dying wish of visiting her native Vilna one last time, because of her fear of prosecutors’ threats and intimidation.

Continue reading

Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Books, History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Roland Binet, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016) | Comments Off on We Shall Never Forget Kazimierz Sakowicz’s “Ponary Diary”

Ponár (Paneriai) Memorial: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish



Ponár (Paneriai) Commemoration on Lithuania’s Annual Holocaust Day is Dejudaicized Even More in “Nationalist Takeover of Litvak Heritage”: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish

But ethnic Lithuanian costume and song are featured at the mass grave of Vilna Jewry. Honor guard with bayoneted rifles was a questionable touch.

Continue reading

Posted in Christian-Jewish Issues, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ponár (Paneriai) Memorial: No Rabbi, No Cantor, No Kaddish

“The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

The national Lithuanian television channel Lietuvos rytas TV recently (on May 4) broadcast a show by veteran talk-show host Rūta Grinevičiūtė (surname recently changed to Janutienė) called Nuoga Tiesa, “Naked Truth,” which posed the question, “Do you want the Jews to return again [sic] to Lithuania?” Viewers were invited to call in and/or vote by special telephone lines for Yes and No with a one euro toll per call. For that and a number of other reasons the entire program had something of the macabre about it, and although some of the guests made some important points, all of them seemed to miss certain glaring details which would have been the center of attention in the West.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Geoff Vasil, History, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Rūta Vanagaitė, Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevičius) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “The Naked Truth” on Lithuanian Television

Double Genocide in Action? Victims and Perpetrators Interchangeable



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—Ronaldas Račinskas, executive director of the Lithuanian-government financed “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania,” widely known for brevity as the “Red-Brown Commission,” has revealed — on camera, to the producers of the documentary film Liza Ruft — his thoughts about the “war crimes investigation” into Fania Brantsovsky. The video clip of his statement was released today on Youtube.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Double Games, Double Genocide, EU, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Double Genocide in Action? Victims and Perpetrators Interchangeable

Two “C Words” for Holocaust Museums: Center of Town, and — Collaboration



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

Christmas-time congratulations are due to the four architects who have won the Vilnius state Jewish museum’s competition for plans to build a Holocaust museum at the mass murder site known as Ponár in Yiddish, Ponary before the war in Polish, and currently Lithuanian Paneriai. It is a short ride outside the capital city Vilnius. The victory of the foursome, Jautra Bernotaitė, Ronaldas Pučka (team leader), Andrius Ropolas and Paulius Vaitiekūnas, is announced on the museum’s website (and on Mr. Ropolas’s site). The competition was jointly run with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The elaborate description of the project’s conception, by the Union of Architects, includes many sophisticated concepts, with multiple learned citations, from Freud to Foucault. Just one rather simpler word, a word (and exhibit) needed for any Holocaust museum, is missing from the text: collaboration.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Two “C Words” for Holocaust Museums: Center of Town, and — Collaboration

Austrian Volunteer Reflects on Year in Lithuania, Calls for City-Center Holocaust Museum in the Capital



O P I N I O N

by Sebastian Hager

 

Iwas proud to serve as Austria’s remembrance volunteer (Gedenkdiener) in 2013-2014. Based in Vilnius in the Green House, the country’s only serious Holocaust exhibit, I was able to travel extensively and meet Lithuanian citizens from a wide variety of backgrounds. Despite all the hype, the Jewish heritage is not really in the best of shape. There is a lot of ignorance combined with an ethnocentric nationalist worldview.

Continue reading

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Austrian Volunteer Reflects on Year in Lithuania, Calls for City-Center Holocaust Museum in the Capital

Rumbula and Ponár



M U S I C

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

This composition, Rumbula and Ponár, memorializes the victims of the two most infamous mass murder sites of Latvia and Lithuania, Rumbula outside Riga, and Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) outside Vilnius. More than 130,000 people were killed in total at these two sites. The majority were Jews but there were many others of diverse ethnic and social background at Ponár.

Continue reading

Posted in Arts, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Music, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Comments Off on Rumbula and Ponár

Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto



B O O K S    /    O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

The unfortunate and wasteful campaign of Holocaust obfuscation waged by certain East European state institutions continues apace. The level of investment continues to strike outsiders as puzzling, given current economic and cultural issues and the younger population’s clear focus on the future and a better life for all in the new and multicultural European Union. Here in Lithuania, the first victims of the government’s (rather Soviet-style) “genocide industry” are the hard-working people of the country who deserve more judicious disbursement of their nation’s resources. The state-sponsored Genocide Center has just released three simultaneous editions (English, Lithuanian and Russian) of a new book on the Vilna Ghetto by historian Arūnas Bubnys, its own “director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Department.”

 Dr. Bubnys is also a member of the state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” (known for short as the “red-brown commission”). He was one of a minority of members of the Commission who refused to sign the (in the opinion of some, inadequate) letter of 14 October 2013 to Dr. Yitzhak Arad.

Continue reading

Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Books, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, EU, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Poland, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vilnius Genocide Center Releases a New Graywash on the Vilna Ghetto

Holocaust Commemoration Vilnius Style — with an Israeli Twist


 


E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

 

The ceremony today to commemorate Lithuanian Holocaust victims at Ponár, the country’s largest mass murder site, outside the capital city of Vilnius, on the day officially known as Day to Commemorate the Lithuanian Jewish Victims of Genocide, went off pretty much as most official commemorations do here: inappropriate and with seeming desperation to focus on any topic except the circumstances of the actual Lithuanian Holocaust—the massive collaboration and participation that led to the country’s having the highest proportion of Holocaust murder in Europe.

Ponár is the site’s Yiddish name. It is today Paneriai and is known as Ponary in Polish.

The official date, the 23rd of September was marked this year on the 24th, apparently so officials wouldn’t have to interrupt their weekend break.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, Double Genocide, Dovid Katz, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Identity Theft of the Litvak Heritage, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Symbology, Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Holocaust Commemoration Vilnius Style — with an Israeli Twist

June 2009 Correspondence with Yad Vashem



D O C U M E N T S

After more than three years’ wait for a substantive reply to the points raised in a letter to Yad Vashem, and in light of the past week’s shocking revalations about political legitimization by Yad Vashem of the Lithuanian government’s “red-brown commission” that is the engine of Prague Declaration and Double Genocide politics in Europe, DefendingHistory is releasing the full text of the letter of 28 June 2009, and the initial reply received the following day.

In the original the images, numbered 1-7, were included as email attachments. Here they are inserted in the text. [Note: the author’s eleven-year Vilnius University affiliation ended in 2010.]


—-Original Message—–

From: Dovid Katz [mailto:dovidkatz@vilniusuniversity.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 1:17 PM
To: גביר יוסי
Cc: ‘Simon Wiesenthal Center-Israel Office’; ‘Dov Levin’; ‘Joseph Melamed’
Subject: from Dovid Katz (Vilnius University)

Greetings dear Yossi (at the moment from Tel Aviv),

Trust this finds you and all at Yad Vashem well and thriving. As you may recall, we corresponded for several months in Spring 2008. I had been (and frankly remain) disappointed that by continuing to allow Yad Vashem’s name to appear as a partner of the Lithuanian government sponsored “Red-Brown Commission” even as the falsification of history (replacement of the very notion of the Holocaust by a paradigm of two equal genocides) continues apace at the European Parliament. Parliamentarians are told: “Look, Yad Vashem is with us….” Of course Yad Vashem has no such intention, and we are in agreement that it’s important for Lithuanian teachers to be educated in Jerusalem but that should be facilitated through any of the various honest NGOs or educators, not the “Red-Brown Commission” whose major current project is passage of the “equal genocide” resolutions in the European Parliament. My two recent op-eds on the topic are in the Jewish Chronicle and Irish Times.

Continue reading

Posted in Documents, Double Genocide, Israel, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Yad Vashem Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on June 2009 Correspondence with Yad Vashem

No Gesture at Ponár


 


Note: This news box was posted on page one until the end of 19 April 2012.

Continue reading

Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged | Comments Off on No Gesture at Ponár

The Brand New HOLOCAUST Room in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius


Photos by Richard Schofield (© R. Schofield).  Text by Dovid Katz. From a visit on 18 November 2011.


Which is worse?

Genocide Museum on ground zero of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe that does not mention the Holocaust,

Or

One that, more than a year after being exposed in this journal in the summer of 2010, and a confluence of international pressures, has added, in October 2011, a single solitary cell in the basement, unannounced on the main floor, that distorts the Lithuanian Holocaust and actually glorifies (as ‘rebels’) the local killers who unleashed the Holocaust in the country, while failing to mention their Holocaust role in an exhibit on the Holocaust?

You decide. . .   

Continue reading

Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Genocide Center (Vilnius), History, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai), Symbology | Comments Off on The Brand New HOLOCAUST Room in the BASEMENT of the City Center GENOCIDE Museum in Vilnius

Faina Kukliansky’s Speech at Ponár (Paneriai) on 23 September 2011



O P I N I O N

by Faina Kukliansky

The following is the approved text of the speech by Faina Kukliansky at the September 23rd commemoration ceremony at Ponár (Paneriai), the mass murder site near Vilnius where some 70,000 Jews from the city and its surrounding areas, and around 30,000 non-Jews, were murdered by the Nazis and their local partners. A prominent attorney and constitutional specialist, Kukliansky is chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community and deputy chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. The text was translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil and approved by the author.


In 1994 September 23rd was declared the day of commemoration for Lithuanian Jewish genocide victims, dedicated to honoring the victims. The Vilna Ghetto was liquidated on 23 September 1943 when the last surviving Jewish residents of the Lithuanian capital were murdered or sent to concentration camps abroad.

Continue reading

Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Faina Kukliansky, Opinion, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Faina Kukliansky’s Speech at Ponár (Paneriai) on 23 September 2011

Box Coverage to 30 September 2011 on the July 2011 Ponár Desecration



Still no official comment in worst-ever desecration of Vilna’s mass murder site PonárFirst full image of the larger monument’s desecration released in Sept. 2011.

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Box Coverage to 30 September 2011 on the July 2011 Ponár Desecration

First Full Photo of July 2011 Ponár Desecration


Despite efforts by officials to suppress the photographs of the July 2011 desecration at the Ponár (Paneriai) mass murder site outside Vilnius, a cellphone image was released today to DefendingHistory.com by a former employee of the Tolerance Center who reported that he felt obliged by conscience to release the image. The Tolerance Center is the headquarters of the state Jewish museum which in addition to three addresses in Vilnius, runs the small museum at the Ponár site, where the desecration took place. This is the image of the paint attack on the main monument:

Continue reading

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Lithuania, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on First Full Photo of July 2011 Ponár Desecration

Ponár Desecrated: Authorities Try to Cover Up the Event; No Arrests, No Reaction from Officials


This page has moved. The new URL is

http://defendinghistory.com/?p=20124

or click here.  Thank you.

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Ponár Desecrated: Authorities Try to Cover Up the Event; No Arrests, No Reaction from Officials

Milan Chersonski on the ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar



O P I N I O N

by Milan Chersonski


МАРШ ЖИВЫХ. ВПЕЧАТЛЕНИЯ И РАЗМЫШЛЕНИЯ

В календаре памятных дат Государства Израиль есть День памяти Жертв нацизма и Героев сопротивления – Йом а-Шоа вэ а-Гвура. По европейскому календарю он приходится на 19 апреля – день начала восстания в Варшавском гетто в 1943г.. Почти месяц – дольше, чем польская армия, защищавшая страну от нацистов в 1939г., – истощенные голодом и болезнями, плохо вооруженные узники сражались против специально обученных нацистских формирований и их местных нацистских пособников.

Continue reading

Posted in In Russian, Milan Chersonski, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Milan Chersonski on the ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar

Eyewitness Report: ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar Killing Site near the Lithuanian Capital



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T  / O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

I attended the March of the Living today at Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai), the mass killing site outside Vilnius, Lithuania. It is Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. I had been to Ponár only once before, because a friend of mine was afraid she would get lost taking the city buses there and back.

Continue reading

Posted in Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Double Games, Geoff Vasil, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Eyewitness Report: ‘March of the Living’ at Ponar Killing Site near the Lithuanian Capital

Obfuscationists planning Vilnius Holocaust Museum miles away from the City Center


Rumors are flying in the Lithuanian capital about plans to induce foreign institutions and governments to support the building of  a new Holocaust Museum at  the mass-murder site Ponár (Paneriai), where no unsuspecting tourist or visitor to Vilnius would ever see it, more than six miles out of town, unless they have prior special interest that would motivate the hiring of a taxi for that purpose.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Genocide, Museums, News & Views, Poland, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Obfuscationists planning Vilnius Holocaust Museum miles away from the City Center

Revolving Posters at Ponár


Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) is the mass murder site outside Vilnius where around a hundred thousand civilians were murdered by the Nazi regime. Some 70,000 of them were the Jews of Vilna and its region.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Double Games, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponár

Revolving Posters at Ponar?


Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) is the mass murder site outside Vilnius where around a hundred thousand civilians were murdered by the Nazi regime. Some 70,000 of them were the Jews of Vilna and its region.

Before the war the site was known as a bucolic holiday and picnic spot set in the forest. During the year-long Soviet rule in 1940-1941, large pits were dug for an oil storage facility. After the Nazi invasion the site was converted to a mass murder operation with the ready-dug pits serving as mass graves.

Continue reading

Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Double Games, Exotic Jewish Tourism, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponar?

Revolving Posters at Ponár


Continue reading

Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Museums, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Revolving Posters at Ponár

Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky gives a Powerful Speech at Ponar Commemoration near Vilnius


This year’s commemoration ceremony at Ponar (Paneriai) was held today, attended  by government officials, the diplomatic corps, and a sizable crowd of mostly Jewish participants. Ponar is the mass grave site near Vilnius where 100,000 civilians ― around 70,000 of them Jews of Vilna and its environs ― were murdered by Nazi henchmen between 1941 and 1944.  In 2005, Yale University Press brought out Kazimierz Sakowicz’s eyewitness account, Ponary Diary, where it is reconfirmed that most of the killing was done by volunteer local killers.

The country’s small but vibrant Jewish community was proudly represented by Faina Kukliansky, head of the Vilnius Jewish Community and vice chairman of the Jewish Community of Lithuania. In her speech (English translation here), Kukliansky, one of the country’s foremost attorneys, did not mince words. She explained that whatever differences of opinion may exist, the community was unanimous in condemning the Double Genocide movement, as well as projects to equate Nazi and Soviet crimes whose purpose is to trivialize or mitigate the Holocaust specifically and the notion genocide more generally. Moreover, she stressed the need to expose the identities of all the local killers who carried out the genocide of Lithuanian Jewry. She also mentioned that it was only the Jewish Community of Lithuania, not the Lithuanian or Israeli government, that established a fund to help each and every Holocaust era Lithuanian rescuer live a better life to the end of his or her days.

Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, a Vilna Ghetto survivor and hero of the anti-Nazi partisan resistance in the forests of Lithuania, delivered her own eloquent address in Yiddish, declaring that the victims would never be forgotten, neither by Jewish people nor by humankind.

Continue reading

Posted in Commemorations for Destroyed Communities, Events, News & Views, Ponár (Ponary, Paneriai) | Comments Off on Jewish Community’s Faina Kukliansky gives a Powerful Speech at Ponar Commemoration near Vilnius